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Synapticism

An experiential journal of synchronicity and connection
A ghostly tree in the endless ocean of fog on Yangmingshan

Fog

Fog is one of the most wondrous conditions to experience. It turns everyday reality into a surreal wonderland.

A Foggy Hike in Yangmingshan 陽明山

Ghostly trees in the endless fog on Yangmingshan
Ghostly trees in the endless fog on Yangmingshan.

These photographs were taken in early October 2013 while hiking around Yángmíngshān National Park 陽明山國家公園. After meeting up with a friend we took a bus from Jiantan Station 劍潭站 in Shìlín District 士林區 to Lěngshuǐkēng with the intention of checking out Milk Lake 牛奶湖 (pinyin: Niúnǎichí). Racing up the meandering mountainside roads we soon found ourselves immersed in an interminable fog. Debarking at the bus stop, with hardly another soul around, we decided to wander around and see what we could make of our time in Yangmingshan.

A Misty Morning in the Mountains of Puli

Morning mist in the mountains of Nantou
A misty morning in the mountains of Nantou.

I captured this photo at the Yen Family Ranch 顏氏牧場 in Pǔlǐ 埔里 one misty morning in late October 2015. I was there for Earthfest Revolutons 地球革命戶外電子音樂祭, an underground music festival put on by some friends of mine, and I wanted to ensure I would have some on-site source material to work with if any of my recordings worked out. Turns out I did get a mix out of the weekend—which you are welcome to listen to on Mixcloud—but I didn’t end up using this particular image so I’m posting it here instead.

Nantou’s Misty Lotus Forest 忘憂森林

Into the misty mountains
Into the misty mountains we go…

Collected here are a series of dreamlike photos from a road trip into the misty mountains of Lùgǔ 鹿谷 in Nantou, central Taiwan 台灣. I undertook this trip with a friend in July 2014. Our goal was the Lotus Forest 忘憂森林 (pinyin: Wàngyōu Sēnlín), also known as the Misty Forest 迷霧森林, a high mountain bog formed in the aftermath of the catastrophic 921 earthquake when a landslide altered drainage patterns, forming a small lake and drowning part of the existing forest. At an elevation somewhere close to 2,000 meters, the Lotus Forest is often shrouded in thick fog, imbuing it with an eerie mystique that attracts Taiwanese people from all over the island.

Into the Unknown

A moment with no past or future
Looking across Jingshan Suspension Bridge: a moment with no past or future.

I visited Yángmíngshān 陽明山 in October 2013 and was delighted to find the entire park shrouded in fog. There is something sublime about being lost in the misty mountains—especially with the fierce winds sweeping over the peaks. Fog usually implies a state of calm but conditions were quite harrowing on the way to Qīxīngshān 七星山, or Seven Star Mountain, the highest in the park.

This particular image was captured down in Lěngshuǐkēng 冷水坑 (“cold water pit”) at the Jīngshān Suspension Bridge 菁山吊橋. Ordinarily this bridge provides a view of the famous Niúnǎichí 牛奶池 (“milk pond”) but it was nowhere to be seen. I could hardly even discern the far end of the bridge, which is not large. It was a spellbinding moment, like taking a step out of time into a place with no past or future.

Into the Misty Mountains of Lugu

The misty mountains of Lugu
Into the misty mountains of central Nantou County.

Today I went out for a brief motorbike excursion along highway 151 in Lùgǔ 鹿谷, a mountain township on the south side of the Zhoushui River 濁水溪 in Nantou, the geographic center of Taiwan 台灣. It was bright and sunny down by the wide gravelly river but cool and misty up in the bamboo and red cedar forest. I should have packed an umbrella for the mist eventually turned to rain—but for I didn’t mind getting a little wet, the scenery was worth it. Coming down out of the clouds was particularly unreal with visibility of only a few meters and 15 kilometers of winding mountain switchbacks to navigate before returning to civilization. That’s one of the beautiful things about Taiwan: as long as you have the mountains nearby it isn’t long before you can truly lose yourself in nature.

Vancouver in the Winter Fog

False Creek Seawall

Vancouver recently lay under cover of fog for days. This prompted me to grab my camera to find out what could be captured of such mysterious atmospheric conditions. I ventured out into Stanley Park with a tripod one night only to discover that there really isn’t any light to work with. I couldn’t discern the skyline through the thick mire. In fact, I could hardly even see a few meters in front of me. I called that mission off and headed out the next day over Burrard Bridge, around False Creek, and back to the West End by way of Gastown. This time I did not bring a tripod—hence the grainy quality of some of these later photos, all of which were shot by hand with a fixed 35mm lens.